Family happy with red-zoned relocation

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 05:00 03/07/2013
red zone relocation
JOSEPH JOHNSON/Fairfax NZ

MOVING ON: Virginia Tatton, home owner and her son Theo Archer chat on the deck of her home, relocated from Pine Beach to Marine Parade.

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After two years in a rental, Virginia Tatton and her partner are moving into their new home - but they have not had to call a builder or a real estate agent.

The couple picked up a house from a red-zoned property in Pines Beach, near the Waimakariri River mouth, and relocated it to New Brighton to replace their demolished home.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) is backing the recycled-home idea and calling on anyone interested in buying a red-zoned house to get in touch.

Tatton's new house, relocated by Laing Homes, arrived at 5am yesterday and was craned into place.

Although she and her partner had not been planning on a relocation, when the option came up it suited them.

"We wanted some certainty," Tatton said. "We didn't know what was happening in Christchurch."

Laing Homes managing director Grant Laing said the home was a "perfect match" for the family and had sustained minimal damage from the earthquakes.

Relocations were a cost-effective solution to Christchurch's housing situation, Laing believed, and said Cera "need to identify which houses on their lands are salvageable for relocation or deconstruction".

"Time is ticking," he said.

"As they're not being lived in they deteriorate more quickly, that unfortunately will only lead to one conclusion - demolition."

A Cera spokesman ruled out a "register" of salvageable houses, because each property would differ depending which Crown offer option the home-owner took and the degree of earthquake damage.

About 100 relocations had already happened and another 300 were planned. Often a deal could be arranged where the house was given for no cost on the condition that the site be cleaned up afterwards, said the spokesman.

If people were thinking of a relocation, they should get in touch with Cera as there might be flexibility over time-frames, he said. "No-one is standing in the way of this happening. If it works for people we think this is a good option."

Laing welcomed Cera's stance: "They want to save houses, that's a great start.

"Every dozen or so houses we save is another good success story."

Insurance Council spokesman Samson Samasoni said most relocations had come from people approaching insurance companies to see if it was possible.

"It's a case by case example. You can't go in and say ‘I want those 50 homes'.

"You have to go in and assess each one, decide if it's feasible to relocate that house."

In lieu of a register of available houses, Samasoni suggested interested people go to insurers to work out what fitted their needs.

"It's not going to be a quick fix but we're all doing our level best to see these houses can be reused," Samasoni said.

As for Tatton, she is excited to finally have a permanent home.

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